Mar 22

Women on the Road – Book Review

I’ve gotten a little bit behind on some of my reading and after a few months of distraction I finally sat down to review the book Woman on the Road.

The book is a guide for female baby-boomers looking to travel the world, with an emphasis on solo.  While I’m a few years younger then a baby-boomer, I still enjoyed this book and thought it would be a great value for travelers of all ages.
While the book does lean towards supporting longer term traveler, the information in it is easily applicable to one or two week vacations too.
They cover all the topics you’ll face and in great detail in just 200 pages:
Saving money for your trip, choosing accomidations, travel options, packing, choosing destinations (including what time of year you’ll be traveling), dealing with hagglers and beggars, volunteering, reaclimating to home and everything in between.
What’s even better they not only cover all of these topics in depth, they offer a wide range of considerations.  You’re budget is tight, then couchsurfing might be better.  Heck, even if you have a bigger budget you might want to go to more expensive destinations and still couchsurf.
Perhaps you want to integrate some cultural experiences into your trip, try a cooking class or language class.
At the end they conclude with checklists (based on time before trip starts), itineraries of varying lengths and what I think is the coolest element that you don’t usually see in books like this.  Brief interviews with woman who actually did this.  How they traveled, what issues they had, budget, and safety.  I think this final section sets this book apart from others by adding a human element that makes a trip seem more tangable.

Jul 20

The Indie Travel Podcast And Couples

In the Indie Travel Podcast episode # 237 – How Couples Can Stay Sane on The Road Craig and Linda discuss tips for couples.  As I normally travel solo, I didn’t expect to get too much out of this episode, but I was wrong.  This podcast was chock full of information for couples and for any type of pair traveling together, ways to set expectations and divide the work and not blame each other and be mad about stuff.  

It’s a great episode, I recommend it to anyone who likes to travel.

 

Feb 25

Traveling Solo or on a tour??

In the travel world there’s a bit of a separation between those that travel independently and those that travel on a tour. I’m a tour girl. It’s not that I don’t like to travel independently, but I tours suites me better.

I’m often traveling alone, I occasionally find a friend to travel with; but I travel so much and sometimes quite far away that I can’t always find someone to travel with. I don’t really like to travel alone either, it’s lonely. I know I could meet people along the way, but what if I don’t? The thought of traveling to foreign cities for 2 weeks without meeting people, or constantly meeting new people but not connecting with any of them is daunting. Imagine having no one to really talk to for 2 weeks, to discuss the things you did and the things you want to do. If you’re on a tour then you have instant friends (ok, I know that sounds bad.) But you’re with people who are more or less in the same boat and with the same interests. And if you keep your tour in the 2-3 week range you’re unlikely to get to know people’s annoying habits. But there is a certain comradery that develops on a tour. Picking place to see in a city, helping each other with problems that arise, sharing knowledge, and getting to know another culture through meeting people from different places. There is a lot to get out of a tour socially, and I’m still friends with many of the people that I travel with.

Then there is the idea of planning the trip – hotels, transportation, dining, ugh! I don’t mind it, but it is a lot of work and sometimes more then I have the time and patience for, especially if you’re looking at seeing a lot of places in a short period of time. A tour makes all this easier.

But there are some cons to traveling with a tour: you do often end up being sheparded around in a large group (though there is a lot of free time too,) being stuck with annoying people, limited control over your schedule and time. Overall though, I’ve enjoyed all the tours I’ve been on, felt they were a good value, and the people were absolutely worth meeting and getting to know. I am however looking at expanding the types of tours I use. A bus of 50 people is great, but I think a smaller group of people is better.